Monday, 31 October 2011

Away in a manger? LOTV challenge 118

I appreciate that most people are enjoying Halloween but I am entering another of my favourite stamp designers, Lili of the Valley's card challenges today. As you will remember from this post I explained that every now and again I will enter these challenges to be in with a chance of coming out of the hat and winning a great prize.
Here is my entry.
Today's challenge is to use a card sketch by the incredibly talented Bev Rochester whose colouring master class I attended earlier this year. To those of my blogging friends who are not card makers a sketch is a basic design format. The one we have been asked to follow for this week's challenge is the one shown below. You are able to decorate in any way but the card must keep to this basic template.

 You can see in the image above that Bev wants us to use a circular central image with a square and rectangular piece behind and one across the middle. It was a really lovely sketch to work with.

I used the LOTV "Angels with crib" stamp, I love this gentle and warm, it always makes me think of "Away in a manger" the Christmas carol. Indeed I kept humming it as I worked, it must have driven Billy mad but he just slept on!

I coloured my image using my trusty promarkers and highlighted it with some prismacolour pencils. You can't see very clearly but I used dimensional magic on the wings to make them appear raised and glossy.

This shows in the photo as looking quite reflective on the wings.It makes them have a bit of a "3 D " look and they are lovely and shiny.

I used a lovely deep grey/silver ribbon across the centre and tied a bow at the side. I cut some silver card snowflakes using one of my punches and attached them with raised sticky fixers to give some depth.

I also used one of my Tibetan charms which I have bought for my bag charms. Don't you just love it when things are able to cross crafts!

I attached it to the back of a foil snowflake from my stash by a piece of silver plated chain. I also added a bit of bling to the centre of the snowflake!

Here it is again stood up on a little easel I bought.

Thanks for looking.

Back soon, I am still getting my stock made up for my annual Open House jewellery party in a few weeks and a post  to follow.

Bye for now,

Jane x

Friday, 28 October 2011

Garden colour for the coming months

Last weekend I managed to get my bulbs and autumn bedding plants potted up. Yet again we were spoilt by beautiful sunshine and during the afternoon last Sunday the temperature got up to 20oc. We even enjoyed our lunch sitting out in the garden.
The first thing I did was to add the water to my Hyacinth vase, pop the bulb on top and then put it away in the garage under a block pot to keep it in the dark.

I had a peep a few minutes ago and there are already little white roots beginning to be put down into the water.

Next it was time to empty out some pots, give them a scrub and and then tuck some bulbs up into the compost.

I plant my bulbs in layers. Here is the deepest layer with tulips around the edge and a daffodil in the centre. I then added a few more layers of bulbs.

At the top I added my winter flowering pansies and violas. I planted up 3 large pots and a hanging basket with the bedding plants. They are such happy flowers, their little faces "smile" all winter long and they are pretty hardy souls too.

As I had spare bulbs I also decided to try some small pots of bulbs which I have tucked in under the shelter of my buddleia

There are some miniature daffodils here in the tiny pots here and I am hoping I might be able to bring them indoors before Christmas and bring them on for some mid/late winter flowering. Unbelievably I still even have some digitalis in flower and you can see the plants "ready" for flowering next year. I just need to keep an eye that the slugs and snails don't gorge on them too much.

I brought one of the pots down by my Studio so that I can see it from out of my window. I also hope to have some lovely bulbs blooming there in the spring.

I even managed to give the lawn it's final hair cut and I felt great satisfaction that my garden is all neat, the bulbs are tucked up in their posts and I have some colour to give me some cheer in the garden over the coming months.

I still even have a few of my summer bedding plants hanging on and in flower so my garden continues to inspire me even as the daylight shortens.

 It's time for our clocks to go back on Saturday night, the end of British Summer Time for another year. We will really notice the difference next week, it will start getting dark nearer 4.30pm; that bit of winter I do not enjoy. But of course that does mean that something special beginning with "C" is on it's way. I have a countdown on my phone and I hate to break this to you but there are now 58 days until Christmas!

If that has shocked you I shall come back to next week; there is of course  Halloween to enjoy on Monday. My children are too old be tricking or treating but I could not resist buying them and their partners these...

Fun eh.... Smartie filled little pumpkins. Your children are never too old are they ;0)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We have had some much needed rain here during the week but still some lovely sunny days as well. I am hoping to get the shelving sorted for my studio and I am also working on making more  jewellery stock for my annual Open House in a few weeks time.

Take care,

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

PS I must also add that dear Billy is fighting fit once more and jumping high over the fence again. Thanks for all your get well wishes you sent him ;0) X

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Return to beading heaven

Last weekend was the return of my favourite bead fair; The Big Bead Show which is held at Sandowne Park in Surrey. Yet again this year it was a glorious sunny day and it was almost a shame to be indoors. However the lure of the goodies inside is such a draw. This show is always very well attended and every stall is surrounded by eager buyers. There are several sellers whom I always visit as their stones and silver findings are second to none. To me strands of beads are like glistening sweeties and even those I cannot afford I love to gaze at. I spent 5 hours there and I will not admit how much money I spent but I found some beautiful new stock. The most annoying fact is that the price of silver is still rising. Necklace and bracelet clasps that I bought last year are now 50% more expensive - eek!

Here is a glimpse at some of my buys

A gorgeous strand of amethyst nuggets

Gorgeous pink and natural shell/mother of pearl

Some lovely shapes of haematite, one of my favourite gemstones as it is so versatile.

I also found some new Tibetan beads at the Fair, as it is getting near Christmas I bought some Christmas themed ones which included these

Cute aren't they! I also found some glorious Owls, just look at these beauties.

These are very large in comparison to the usual  little ones I use but I thought they would be fun to make up into bag charms.

I so wish they did pigs this size, I would buy the whole stock! I have already made these up into bag charms, I am really pleased with them.

This little fellow is for sale in my Etsy Shop here

And this fellow is going into my stock for my upcoming Christmas Open House in November.

I also could not resist putting together a Christmas themed one ;0)

Despite the frosts earlier in the week the last few days have been wonderful again. It has been gloriously sunny here today, a perfect day for planting my bulbs and my winter bedding plants. The garden looks really tidy. We even managed to have lunch sitting out on the patio; what a lovely bonus for late October. The really great news is that my dear Billy seems to finally be well again and he is jumping around with all his usual grace and agility. Here he is looking down from his favourite wall whilst I was busy in the garden this afternoon
I am so relieved that his back has settled and he did not need the intervention of the vet. He does NOT like going to the vet's at all!
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend and you perhaps caught a peep of the sun too?  Thanks as always for your visits and comments and "see" you all soon.

Bye for now,

Jane x

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My Harvest Home

Now that we are truly in autumn I wanted to show you the veg I grew in my garden this year. It was a good summer and an even better autumn; we have never known such high temperatures here in Surrey for the early part of October.

Do you remember my corn on the cob I planted from seed?....well here they are harvested.

They grew beautifully, just in the soil by my pots, no special treatment, in fact I think they thrived on neglect!

The ladybirds took care of the greenfly as they usually do. Can you spot this one here?

and the little ears of corn sprouted out as the cobs began to swell...

until they were big enough for dinner.

and here is my cooked corn...I had NEVER tasted such sweet corn before and it really made me think about how old the "fresh" corn that is sold in the shops actually is. The other incredible thing was how soft they were.........mmmm. We harvested at least 12 cobs from the plants we grew, not bad from a 99p packet of seeds was it!

 You can also see some of my home grown runner beans on the plate above, they too grew very well this year. I cropped so many and the little plants came from my Dad who had grown them from last year's seed.

Here are my beans in September, I really did have an abundance of them and again the ladybirds took care of the black and green fly.

On Saturday I cleared my beans away as they have now died off and I will have to wait until the spring to grow some again.

I am still picking tomatoes but these will be the very last as the first frosts are due tonight. I have picked enough to keep me supplied with tomatoes all summer.
I also had masses of lovely chillies.

I still have some of my flowers in full bloom including fuchsia and geranium but these really are the very last of the season. I am starting to clear them away.
 These photos were taken yesterday but I think tonight's frost will take it's toll. They have bloomed all summer and early autumn.

 It's time to start thinking of potting up some bulbs for next spring and a few winter flowering pansies and violas, just to give me a little tiny bit of colour in my garden whilst everything goes to sleep for the winter months.

I bought this lovely selection of winter flowering pansies and violas from a nursery when we visited my daughter on Sunday.

 I shall plant them up with some of my beloved daffodils which will snooze away through whatever winter weather we get until they start to pop up in the spring.

I also bought a hyacinth vase this year to try growing one in water. I used to grow them this way as a child so it will be fun to give this a try again.

So it really is time to say "Thank you and Goodnight" to my tiny garden, which yet again has given me so much pleasure for another season of growing.  It is time to clear out the pots, tidy up outside and get back indoors (or in my Studio) for more crafting time until nature awakens again in the spring.

Our forecasters are forecasting our first frost tonight with temperatures getting down to freezing. Today has been yet another glorious day of sunshine but it really is very chilly. I wore my coat for the first time and I need to get my scarf and gloves out too.

I hope all of you who have the privilege of having any outdoor space have also enjoyed watching Mother Nature complete another circle of life.

Bye for now,

Jane x

PS Thanks for all wishing Billy well. He is doing OK, he is slowly improving and now occasionally able to "jump" onto a chair but he still has some way to go before he can go up and over the fences with the graceful ease he has. Poor lad, he really did hurt his back. As I type this he is fast asleep on my trouble getting there ;0)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Studio news, Part 2

After my very slow posting of my initial Studio news I promised I would be back to update you with how things are going. My dearest Dad came back 2 weeks ago and installed most of the power and lighting and this weekend he finished this off.
When I am "creating" I always like to have my radio on. I celebrated my 50th Birthday in April  and I was given some money which I saved specifically to buy a radio for my new Studio. At the time I thought about buying the "Retro" Roberts Radio which I had seen in John Lewis. Last week we took a trip to John Lewis and I went to choose my radio...however my eye was drawn to a new range of "Pure" DAB radios and just look what I found..

I love Radio 4 but I am also quite a Rock Chick, my favourite music station is Absolute Radio and if I am in a "mellow" mood I tune into Magic. My radio has 6 presets so I have tuned my stations in and I can change station at the click of a button. No fiddly tuning.

At the moment I have my radio on my work bench but I may move it onto some shelves I am thinking of having installed.

I can hum away to my heart's content!

I have power and lighting...3 spot lights which I can point towards my work.

I have bought a small oil fired radiator

I don't think I will be able to work in my studio in the dead of winter, it would be too hard to heat and there is no real insulation to keep out the coldest temperatures but this will take the chill off. I also will set it to frost protect in the winter just to keep everything OK. I hope to be able to work out here until later November and start again in February but we will see.

I have also bought myself a comfy work chair, I spent quite some time considering this and chose this one

It has a fully adjustable back rest, a high/low pump mechanism and a very good seat. I can get just the right height to work whether I am making my jewellery or colouring cards. As a physiotherapist I am very aware of good furniture!

I also thought of somewhere for my dear Billy to sleep if he ever does come into my studio

At the moment my dear little fella has not really been keen to venture inside and in fact has been very under the weather for the last week. He hurt his back and is really struggling to jump on and off things. We are taking care of him and hoping he improves as he HATES the vet and we will only take him if we have to.

He is having to stay "low" in the garden and here he is on Friday sunning himself on the back door step.

And my last bit of Studio news is that my first made to measure accessory arrived courtesy of my dear blogging friend Mia
I needed a new coater for my Studio and just look what arrived

This dear little birdie is struggling with his pumpkin

and wait til you see the back....

Just SO me! Thank you Mia, you are so talented.

So now I am all set for tea in my Studio

Ahhh, happy days.
Yesterday I went to the Big Bead show, my beading heaven..I will be back with news about my purchases soon.
We are off to visit my daughter in Southampton today. It is a glorious "blue sky" autumn day and we will go to see the sea! Bliss. Enjoy your Sunday too.

Bye for now,

Jane x